The House Appropriations Committee today voted 32 to 24 to approve a fiscal year 2022 spending bill that would boost Chesapeake Bay Program funding by $3 million and provide $15 million for a new grant program to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat in the watershed.
The fiscal 2022 Interior-Environment Appropriations bill includes $90.5 million for EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program, up from the current level of $87.5 million. The Program coordinates the local-state-federal partnership and provides the scientific research needed to save the Bay. Congress reauthorized it last year and authorized $90.5 million to fund it in fiscal 2022.
The bill also would direct $15 million to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service next year to roll out the Chesapeake Watershed Investments for Landscape Defense (Chesapeake WILD) program. Created in October 2020, the program will support local restoration projects to improve the health of the Bay and its waterways, and the aquatic plants and wildlife they support.
Chesapeake Bay Watershed Task Force Co-Chairmen Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), and Rob Wittman (R-Va.) introduced the original House legislation to create the program, which authorized $15 million to set it up, in October 2019.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Federal Executive Director Denise Stranko said of the bill:
“CBF applauds the House Appropriations Committee for fully funding the Chesapeake Bay Program and the new Chesapeake WILD program in next year’s Interior-Environment spending bill. Robust funding for these programs is essential to helping the watershed states slash water pollution by the 2025 deadline.
“We are grateful to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Ct.), Ranking Member Kay Granger (R-Tx.), Interior-Environment Subcommittee Chairwoman Chellie Pingree (D-Me.), and Subcommittee Ranking Member David Joyce (R-Ohio) for getting the fiscal 2022 budget process off to such a promising start.
“We also want to thank the Committee’s Bay delegation members—Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), David Trone (D-Md.)—for their commitment to securing ample funding for Bay restoration programs. CBF urges the House of Representatives to approve the important investments this legislation would make and send the bill to the Senate soon.”